North East Connected

Partnership helps community groups enjoy a grand day out

A partnership between a building society and a nationally renowned museum has helped vulnerable and disadvantaged groups from across the North East enjoy a grand day out.

Darlington Building Society teamed up with The Bowes Museum to help over 500 adults and children experience an exciting exhibition designed to spark imagination and creativity across all ages, The Clockwork Garden.

Working in partnership with the Museum, who offered free entry to the exhibition, Darlington Building Society funded the transport for visitors from community groups offering support to vulnerable and disadvantaged families across the area to experience the immersive and interactive show from national children’s arts charity, The House of Fairy Tales.

The decision to fund the excursion came after the Society’s members asked to ensure that the profits being invested as part of its 5% pledge, went to activities that make a real difference in the community and support groups that help other people.

Chief Executive at Darlington Building Society, Colin Fyfe, said: “Supporting our local community is at the heart of the Society and sharing local heritage in arts and culture is a strong way to do this through making things accessible for everyone.

“This funding gave people the chance to experience something they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to and will hopefully have planted the seed to continue these experiences in the future.

One individual responsible for bringing 78 adults and 73 children from Stanley, County Durham, was Kevin Howe. Speaking about the day he said: “You cannot put a price on the benefits to the individuals who attended and the resulting impact on the community.

“For some, this was the first time they had ever been out of the area, for others the first time in a Museum – the excitement they felt and atmosphere they created was electrifying.

“Due to costs, we’ve never been able to organise a trip like this, so we cannot thank Darlington Building Society and The Bowes Museum enough for making the impossible, possible.”

This funding is part of a close partnership between the Society and Museum to support a variety of groups including a young parents group offering monthly sessions at the Museum managed by Barnard Castle YMCA and One Point. Funded by the members of Darlington Building Society, the sessions included craft activities, a trail in the Museum, snacks and activities aimed at helping the parents and children with language, confidence and communication skills when in public and groups.

Alison Nicholson, fundraising officer at The Bowes Museum, said: “The support of the Society has made a real difference to everyone attending the young parents group. We have seen a real change in the young people and children since the group joined us. They have grown in confidence and are enjoying the opportunity to explore the Museum and its collections.”

Darlington Building Society members are able to take advantage of exclusive two for one admission to The Clockwork Garden exhibition until it closes on November 5th.

For more information on this offer, the partnership with The Bowes Museum or the 5% pledge, please visit

Twitter: @DarlingtonBS

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